I have a raging toothache and called around to several dentists in Auburn to see what their policies on prescriptions are. To be clear, this thing doesn’t just hurt. Half my face swelled up. I told them all this—that I’m in agony with some kind of tooth infection but that I can’t afford to treat the tooth until I get paid in two weeks. Maybe four, depending on how much this is going to cost me.
Not a single one would give me a straight answer. They all said that I’d have to book an appointment and that the doctor would let me know my options after an exam. I get that they want to take precautions, but this is beyond ridiculous. At this point, I’m deciding whether I should just go to my primary care physician to get medications and revisit dental treatment after payday. I would love a straight answer though. Should I bother booking?
Sorry to hear your situation wasn’t treated with the care and consideration it deserves. Let’s break down your answer.
Yes, Dentists Prescribe Antibiotics
Dentists are doctors. They can prescribe all sorts of medications, including antibiotics and pain medications. Particularly given the symptoms you described, antibiotics would be a necessity in this situation and it’s hard to imagine a dentist not prescribing them unless something else is going on.
Pain medication is a different story entirely though. Given the current regulations and high potential for abuse, many will not prescribe narcotics. In fact, you may have raised red flags with these offices if you called around without specifying what kind of medication you were hoping to receive. They probably thought that’s what you were looking for, not antibiotics for a swollen face.
You Need to See a Dentist ASAP
This qualifies as a dental emergency. Anytime you have an infection like this, it’s imperative to start treatment right away. As odd as it sounds, people still die in this day and age from untreated dental infections. Rather than calling around and asking about meds, find out which dentist can see you today. You’ll probably leave with your antibiotic prescription and a complete estimate on doing the repair work when you’re ready.
Explore Affordable Dentists if Budget is a Concern
It sounds like cost has been a major concern for you, possibly preventing you from treating this tooth to begin with. Don’t let cost be a barrier—it leads to issues like what you’re experiencing today. Instead, find someone who can work with you a bit. Each office will approach affordable dentistry differently. While you do NOT want someone who does cheap dental work, you can find offices that have reasonable fees, will break up your treatment and help you prioritize appointments, and even some that offer payment plans or accept Care Credit (a medical credit card). This is something to keep in the back of your mind while you’re getting that tooth squared away—you’ll want to come back for a full exam soon and start addressing other issues as you can before they get a chance to turn into an emergency. Best of luck to you.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Raymond Bolt, an Auburn, AL dentist offering comprehensive care and same-day appointments for dental emergencies.